Bus ferry service faces closure for lack of channel dredging | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

Bus ferry service faces closure for lack of channel dredging

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Dhaka – The Shimulia-Kathalbari ferry route is likely to be suspended anytime as the finance ministry has shown apathy to provide money for the maintenance dredging for the channel, sources said.
The closure may cause serious inconvenience to the people traveling in and out of Dhaka during the Eid-ul-Azha holidays, the sources added.However, ferries are now plying on the Shimulia-Kathalbari ferry route through an alternate route.
The current of the mighty Padma river is now flowing 8-9 nautical miles per hour at Lawhajang point, while ferries capacity is 6-nautical miles per hour, the source said.
According shipping ministry sources, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has sought Tk 200 crore in May to dredge the Shimulia-Kathalbari ferry route to keep the channel navigable—but the finance ministry has rejected the BIWTA’s proposal.
The finance ministry does not want to provide money for the channel, the source said, adding that the finance ministry has denied the proposal saying that the Padma Bridge is under construction—so such dredging is not needed at this moment.
“There is no navigability problem on the Shimulia-Kathalbari ferry route—but ferry movement is hampering due to strong current and whirlpool. Now ferries are moving through alternate channel,” shipping minister Shajahan Khan told The Independent yesterday.
When asked about finance ministry’s decision for finance for the channel, the minister replied that the finance ministry denied to provide money causing the necessity to dredge the channel.
“We have all out preparation to keep the channel operational. Besides, the BIWTA has taken preparation to dredge the channel so that people could cross the river Padma during Eid-ul-Azha holidays smoothly,” he said in reply to a query.
The BIWTA has introduced alternate channel at the Lowhajang turning point, BIWTA chairman Commodore M Mozammel Huq told GreenWatch Dhaka.
“Now current is flowing 8-9 nautical miles per hour on the Shimulia-Kathalbari ferry channel—which is against the ferry’s capacity. It is not possible to dredge by small dredger as it is no possible to set the dredger in this strong current,” the BIWTA chairman said.
A total of 18 ferries normally ply on the Shimulia-Kathalbari ferry route—but now these are plying on a limited scale on the alternate channel, Ashikur Rahman, deputy general manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) said.
The dump ferry’s capacity is only 6-nautical mile per hour and it is can’t move against the strong current of the river Padma now, he added. – Staff Reporter

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